ANACOM awards launch licence for satellite operated by Instituto Superior Técnico

ANACOM has issued another space operations licence for the launch and command and control of a satellite, the second such licence issued by ANACOM as the Space Authority. The satellite in question is ISTSAT-1 (Cubesat 1U), which will be launched into space by Ariane 6 on its maiden flight, which is scheduled to take place between 15 June and 31 July 2024. The award of the licence follows a process of collaboration between ANACOM and the Instituto Superior Técnico, which began in mid-2023 to prepare the licensing process for the launch and control of ISTSAT-1.

ANACOM thus joins the second Portuguese space project of the 21st century to go into space, granting a global type licence under Decree-Law No 16/2019, of 22 January, as amended by Decree-Law No 20/2024, of 2 February, authorising the launch and control of ISTSAT-1, a 1U cubesat satellite measuring 10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm, which, once in orbit at a distance of 500 km from the Earth, will study and receive ADS-B (Automatic Data Surveillance-Broadcasting) scientific data. ADS-B is a system related to the management and control of air traffic (ATM/ATC).

This is the second launch under the new regulatory framework, a best-practice legal framework that allows for agility, flexibility and speed in the licensing of satellites, with no fees to pay.

The licensing of this satellite, carried out by ANACOM as the Space Agency, safeguards the international responsibilities and national strategic interests of the Portuguese State. It also imposes a series of obligations regarding the sustainability and security of space.

This second licence is also a milestone in this new phase in the development of the national space ecosystem, in which satellites designed and built entirely in Portugal will once again be launched into orbit.